Democratic Innovations in a Green Transition

Course content

The purpose of this course is to examine different kinds of democratic innovations and their contributions to broad-based green transition policies. The focus is the growing use of climate citizens’ assemblies, but the course will also examine other innovations such as community organizing and climate panels as well as other, more experimental models of involvement and engagements.

The first part of the course will examine the basic idea of democratic innovation, including divergent diagnoses of contemporary democracy and the challenges associated with climate change. The second part will dive deeper into the theories and practices linked to the use of climate citizens’ assemblies. The third and final part will broaden the scope to include other types of democratic innovation such as performance-based experimentation and network organizing.

Participants in the course are invited to observe and critically assess the concurrent climate citizens’ assembly for the Faculty of the Social Science. The assembly will the first of its kind in the country and it give students first-hand experience with the ideas about democratic innovations in a green transition, especially as they apply to a local community as the one on the CSS campus.


Full-degree students enrolled at the Department of Political Science, UCPH

  • MSc in Political Science
  • MSc in Social Science
  • MSc in Security Risk Management
  • Bachelor in Political Science


Full-degree students enrolled at the Faculty of Social Science, UCPH 

  • Master Programme in Social Data Science
  • Master programme in Global Development


The course is open to:

  • Credit students from Danish Universities
  • Open University students
Learning outcome


Demonstrate knowledge about the theories behind basic models of democratic innovation, as well as their implementation in concrete practices related to climate change prevention.

Understand how models of democratic innovation are used in the justification of green transition policies at the local, national, and global levels of governance.


Evaluate different democratic innovations in terms of whether they empower or disempower support for green transition policies.

Critically assess how democratic innovations are used at different levels of governance.

Complete analyses of real-life democratic innovations such as climate citizens’ assemblies.


Critical reflection on the relation between climate change and democratic innovation.

Translate theoretical knowledge about democratic innovations to actual analyses of how they are used at different levels of governance.

A combination of short lectures, group work, cluster supervision, peer feedback, and student discussions.

Likely readings include:

Dryzek, John S. et al. 2019. “The Crisis of Democracy and the Science of Deliberation.” Science 363(6432): 1144–46.

Dryzek, John S. og Simon Niemeyer. 2019. “Deliberative Democracy and Climate Governance.” Nature Human Behaviour 3(5): 411–13.

Lafont, Cristina. 2019. Democracy without Shortcuts: A Participatory Conception of Deliberative Democracy. Oxford: University Press.

Smith, Graham. 2009. Democratic Innovations: Designing Institutions for Citizen Participation. Cambridge: University Press.

Tønder, Lars. 2020. Om magt i den antropocæne tidsalder: en introduktion. Kbh.: Djøf.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

De studerende modtager feedback på oplæg til deres opgave på to klyngeseminarer.

Underviser deltager i samtlige klyngesessioner og giver feedback.

Studerende giver hinanden feedback på klyngeseminarer

Desuden ugentlig træffetid

Studerende er velkommen til individuel feedback på opgaven efter bedømmelsen.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
Type of assessment details
Portfolio exam
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

- In the semester where the course takes place: Free written assignment

- In subsequent semesters: Free written assignment

Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester


Department of Political Science, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Political Science
  • Social Data Science
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Lars Tønder   (2-6e76426b6875306d7730666d)
Saved on the 26-10-2023

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students